What an awesome day we had at the PADI Womens Dive Day 2020, meeting up with old friends and new, celebrating all that we love about diving and doing our bit to clean up the oceans at the same time! Our dive site was an AQ club favourite Hope Cove a beautiful beach for the non divers and an easy dive with a rocky outcrop to follow round the shoreline for us, to top it off the weather gods were kind to us with a glorious afternoon of sunshine.
The day for me was pretty special, it was not only my first time back in the water for a while (I certainly won't be leaving it that long again..) but I also got to meet up with some very dear friends and fellow dive buddies from the days when I first started diving professionally. Back in the Aquanauts 'olden days' before we had the centre on the Barbican and we were training from Dougies house, if you were learning to dive or joining us for some fun dives you would almost certainly have had Jenny, Eleanor or myself as your DM or dive guide.
In those days we were diving daily and involved in pretty much every dive going on with Aquanauts. Well that was well over 15 years ago and while I'm still working behind the scenes here at AQ none of us had dived locally or together for some time. When I suggested we buddy up for the PADI Women's Dive Day 2020 event both women jumped at the chance to get together again and some fairly hilarious conversations ensued while trying to relocate and pull together our dive gear.
Jenny and I both decided to check out the new Aqua Lung school regs for our dives and luckily owning a dive centre means I could grab the few missing bits I needed (new wetsuit from Aqua Lung and a toasty warm thermocline from Fourth Element under it thank you very much - I'll be adding my review of these soon too.
As Jenny had dived the most recently Eleanor and I put her in charge and declared ourselves the novices but as soon as we hit the water it was like we'd just dived yesterday. And what a lovely chilled out relaxing underwater bimble we had. The vis was brilliant 10+ meters, the temperature was a pleasant 15 degrees (we were all in wetsuits but not cold - I didn't bother with gloves although grabbing a hood at the last minute was sensible). We had a lovely easy dive of 40 minutes and spotted strawberry anemones, ballen and cuckoo wrasse, plaice, compass jellies, sand eels and spider crabs. The dive was only shallow but perfect for a check dive to get ourselves back into 'recently dived' status.
And of course my buddies weren't the only ones there, we had loads of our AQ club members join us, it was a real family affair with staff and divers bringing along the kids so lots of little ones (all future divers I'm sure) splashing in the waves and generally having a fabulous time at the beach. Sarah the founder of Girls That Scuba came along to dive too and it was great to meet her, she had some cool kit including the very funky GTS whale shark print rashie and leggings which I was eyeing up. We also had some newbie divers there experiencing their first taste of UK diving, they came out from the water with massive gins, enthusing about the conditions and how much they loved it which was so great to hear.
The certified divers amongst us all took net bags to do a bit of an underwater clean up however I'm really pleased to say none of us found much at all and the big barrel we took to the beach to collect litter came back pretty much empty. After the dive we had a lovely socially distanced catch up over pizza, fish and chips and a pint from the Cove it was the perfect apre dive set up watching the sun setting over the beach.
All in all our PADI Womens Dive Day 2020 was a really awesome event and a fantastic first dive back in a while for me and my buddies. I can't wait until the next club dive; give us a shout if you'd like to join in the AQ fun... I'm just off to check out some new kit on our website for my next underwater adventure with Aquanauts.
Bye for now